An account of the establishment of a Play Centre in Glen Innes, an Auckland suburb.
After many ups and downs, our Play Centre was finally opened in September 1964. We started with ten children, and the roll went up to 19. This is the largest number that we can take, as there is only a limited amount of playing space available.
Play Centre sessions are held in the St. Mary's Anglican Church Hall, and we are indeed grateful to the Rev. and Mrs Houghton for all their help and encouragement.
When we had enough mothers a meeting was called to elect a committee. Those elected were:
President: Anita Bennett.
Treasurer: Francis Reedy.
Secretary: Peggy Hanson, then Roberta Roberts.
Educational: Pauline Perkins.
Publicity: Tawhio Stafford.
Equipment: Lucy Campbell.
Roster: Arlene Paul.
Work to Raise Funds
Soon after this, as a fund-raising effort we held a cake-stall as part of a Market Day organised by Glen Innes businessmen. All the mothers contributed to this, and as everything was sold, our first attempt at money-raising turned out to be most successful.
Later, on the last Play Centre day of the year, we had a Christmas party for the children. This was a most happy day, which they really enjoyed. To complete the occasion, our supervisor Mrs Maraea Pirini was presented with a small gift and a lovely bouquet on behalf of the children and mothers.
We owe Mrs Pirini our special thanks, for she has truly been the backbone of the Glen Brae Play Centre; without her hard work and encouragement, the Play Centre may never have become a reality.
This year the questions of money raising, and of improving the standard and amount of equipment have continued to occupy most of our attention.
Sessions are held twice weekly, on Monday and Wednesday mornings.
To date we have nine Maori or part-Maori children and seven Pakeha children. In our observation of the children we find that they play easily with one another, and are learning to share their toys. They have improved in every way, and always look forward to their Play Centre mornings. Like the other mothers, I have noticed a vast improvement in my son's actions, and especially in his speech; this is just one example of the good influence of Play Centre.
Naturally we are not altogether on our feet just yet; many improvements are needed, and especially more equipment. But with the faith that the mothers have in the Centre, and their knowledge that this is indeed a worthy cause in helping our children make good citizens, and perhaps scholars, we are confident of the success of our Play Centre.
The development of Play Centres has been so rapid in the last few years that there are now 82 Play Centres where the parents concerned are predominantly Maori.
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